(Reuters) – Minister Delegate for Public Accounts Gabriel Attal said in an interview published on Sunday on the Les Echos website that France’s public spending in 2024 would fall compared to this year’s budget, a first “for almost a decade,” he said.

While a document outlining the “spending ceilings” for next year was sent to parliamentarians, the former government spokesman insisted that the priority was to “spend less where you can , to invest more where it should be done”, evoking a “green deleveraging”.

A source at the Ministry of Finance said that the country’s debt reduction would be carried out through various means, including a reduction in state spending by 4.2 billion euros in value next year, the end of energy tariff shields put in place in the face of crises – a saving of nearly 14 billion euros according to Gabriel Attal -, or even structural savings in terms of employment and housing.

“The objective of 15 billion in savings, mentioned by Bruno Le Maire, concerns public spending as a whole (…) For the first time in almost a decade, spending is falling compared to the budget of the previous year: 4.2 billion euros less. In volume, that is to say taking inflation into account, expenditure will fall by 3.5%”, declared Gabriel Attal to Les Echos.

“The 2024 budget is the green debt reduction budget. We are getting out of exceptional crisis spending and saving money to finance the transition,” he added.

The government intends to finance an “ambition of ecological planning”, indicated the source in Bercy, with 13 billion additional credits – for renovation of buildings, decarbonization of activity – involving local authorities.

Regarding the savings requested from each ministry, Gabriel Attal clarified to Les Echos that Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s objective was not “to reduce budgets by 5% in 2024, but to identify a 5% margin of maneuver to participate in debt reduction and finance the ecological transition”.

“Promise kept”, assured the Minister Delegate for Public Accounts. “Inflation and the revaluation of the index point of civil servants generate additional costs: these will be assumed not by new credits, but by the room for maneuver identified in each ministry”.

(Written by Jean Terzian, with Leigh Thomas and Bertrand Boucey)

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